Porsche 911 GTS Coupe

February 2011

picture of car from the front

Overall design is timeless and distinctive

Ratings

Overall Rating 8Overall rating

Value for money Rating 6Value for money

Space and Practicality Rating 5Costs

Space and Practicality Rating 6Space and practicality

Controls and display Rating 7Controls and display

Comfort Rating 7Comfort

Security Rating 9Car security

Safety Rating 8Car safety


Likes

  • Classic shape remains attractive
  • Powerful and sonorous engine is delight to use
  • Handling and grip are exceptional
  • PDK gearbox now much better with conventional paddles

Gripes

  • Visual changes may not be to all tastes
  • Some smaller interior buttons feel a little cheap
  • Boot space is at a premium
  • Running costs likely to be high

Porsche's iconic 911 model has remained at the pinnacle of the sports car sector for decades, thanks to a sound basic formula and a consistent programme of updates and improvements. Porsche's desire to produce a car for every need and whim has resulted in the GTS, a variant seen elsewhere in the Porsche range.

The 997-series Porsche 911 is already an exceptional performance car, offering the unmistakable silhouette which has remained a firm favourite with sports car buyers without looking outdated. A series of wheel and exterior styling packages allow further tailoring, but the inherent proportions and details are simple and attractive, accounting for the car's longevity.

The GTS model sits above the Carrera and Carrera S but below the GT3 in the range of naturally aspirated models, essentially designed as a high specification road version as opposed to the track-oriented GT3. The GTS uses the wide-body that appears on the four-wheel drive Carrera 4 model, giving it a 44mm wider body and an increased track for better traction and grip. However, despite sharing the body of the four-wheel drive 911 the GTS sticks with the traditional rear-wheel drive layout.

Visually the GTS is distinguished from other 911s through a number of small but significant differences. The most obvious of these is the amount of black detailing, regardless of the main body colour. The 19-inch centre-locking wheels have black spokes and the GTS also wears a Sport Design bodykit, with side skirts plus front and rear aprons, all finished in black too.

Underneath the GTS uses the familiar 3.8-litre six-cylinder engine with its pistons horizontally opposed, giving the distinct character and charm which has become a huge part of the 911's appeal. In this iteration it produces 402bhp, 17bhp more than the Carrera S and changes to the intake system have increased torque levels at low revs also.

Our verdict on the Porsche 911 GTS Coupe

The basic template of the 911 has been well-proven and its reputation amongst enthusiasts is virtually bulletproof, so the GTS performs a role of simply trying to appeal to a particular type of customer. The visual changes are down to personal taste and are colour-sensitive, while the mechanical changes offer a useful improvement over its closest rival - the 911 Carrera S.

Costs
Costs rating 5

Running costs for the 911 are likely to be high. Fuel economy is low in actual terms although choosing the PDK gearbox does help to achieve good figures compared to rivals. Insurance and running costs will be at the higher end of the scale, while servicing isn't cheap on a car like this, but inevitably so on a car of this nature.

Space and practicality
Space and Practicality Rating 6

Front seat passengers have plenty of room in all directions, and are unlikely to have any quibbles. In the rear space is more restricted, though the seats are suitable for average sized adults on short journeys. Storage space in the cabin is relatively good, although the front boot is only suitable for carrying a couple of soft bags.

picture of car from the rear

Rear wing rises at speed

Controls and display
Controls and Display Rating 7

The cabin layout of all 911s has become more sophisticated as the specification has improved, but in incorporating necessities such as sat-nav, telephone and high-spec audio something of the simplicity has been lost. The dial layout remains crystal clear and attractive however.

Comfort
Comfort Rating 7

The GTS does a good job of delivering respectable comfort levels. The seats are superb, firm and supportive even over long distances. Noise levels are quite restrained, the engine subsiding when on a light throttle. The standard sports exhaust comes with a dash-mounted button to increase sound levels when required too. The ride is firm, but not uncomfortably so, only the worst potholes causing a disturbance in the cabin.

Car security
Security Rating 9

All Porsche 911 vehicles are fitted with a tracking system as standard, making it very difficult for the car to be successfully stolen. In addition it has an immobiliser and alarm as standard.

Car safety
Safety Rating 8

With the sophisticated Porsche Active Stability Management system fitted the 911 in all forms provides very high levels of active safety, while the suite of airbags and tough bodyshell are reassuring should the worst happen.

Driver appeal
Driver Appeal Rating 9

The GTS is one of the more powerful naturally-aspirated 911s available, and with the more sporting set up to the suspension it is perhaps a good compromise for a road-biased but very sporting car. The flexible six-cylinder engine is as pleasurable as always to use, and with the optional of conventional paddles for the PDK gearbox rather than the previous awkward button arrangement the driver can concentrate on enjoying the powerful engine, strong brakes and sensitive steering. It can also tick along in heavy traffic without demanding much or tiring out the driver, which is something the more highly-strung GT3 model might not be capable of.

picture of car interior

Attractive interior uses Alacantara finish on steering wheel and gearlever

Family car appeal
Family Appeal Rating 2

The 911 is not an ideal family car, although it could carry two adults and children. Insufficient boot space would be the key issue, as is access to the rear seats.

First car appeal
First car Rating 1

The 911 is much too powerful and expensive for a first car, even its most humble of guises.

Quality and image
Quality and Image Rating 9

The 911's reputation is founded on high quality, and almost without exception it delivers. It feels thoroughly engineered throughout and robust, with the only demerit being the slightly flimsy nature of some of the minor switches. The 911's image is even stronger, remaining one of the most desirable sports cars ever despite strong competition, and its reputation as a superb performance car is well known.

Accessibility
Accessibility Rating

For a sports car, the 911 is easy to get into. The doors are long and open wide, and although the seats are low set, it is not a long drop down into them. Access to the rear does require the seat to be slid forward, which takes a few seconds if electric seats are fitted.

Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)

With the optional Bose stereo system fitted, the 911 boasts a superb sound system. Radio, CDs and MP3 CDs can be played, and the sound quality is of a high standard. Steering wheel controls make it easy to operate, and unlike many cars these controls are small so they do not interfere during spirited driving.

picture of car in detail

Black detailing on wheels and body kit is unique to GTS

Colours and trim

An increasing number of colour choices are available for the 911, but choice is even more important with the GTS due to the black wheels and black detail to the body kit. The trim also comes with a mass of personalisation options including trim materials and colours.

Parking

Because of its unique shape, parking the 911 can be a little tricky. Visibility all round is generally good, but the sloping rear can make it difficult to judge. However, parking sensors are available as an option.

Spare wheel

Tyre inflation kit fitted as standard.

 

Range information

Petrol engine options: 3.6-litre petrol (345bhp), 3.6-litre turbocharged petrol (620bhp), 3.8-litre petrol (385bhp, 402bhp, 435bhp and 450bhp), 3.8-litre turbocharged petrol (500bhp and 530bhp). All are fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic also available. Trim levels are Carrera, Carrera S, GTS, GT3, GT3 RS, Turbo, Turbo S, GT2 RS with specific body styles dependent on model.

 

Alternative cars

Ferrari California Fast and desirable, questionable looks, less of an everyday car

Lamborghini Gallardo Most usable Lamborghini ever is highly competent

Aston Martin V8 Vantage Attractive and good to drive British offering

Maserati Gran Turismo Visual and aural feast, less of a sports car



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February 2011